The Season 2017-18: Pedro Menendez

Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (20xx-xx).” Your donation dollars at work, folks.

This year, we’re not following a rotation scheme. We’re keeping it a bit more random this go-round. Using a highly scientific line of inquiry, our next installment in the series is Bolles.

Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past four seasons. At the request of a reader last season, we will note the accomplishments of each team’s senior class that will be moving on to new goals in May or June.

PEDRO MENENDEZ

You can see everything I have on the Falcons in 2017-18 here –>  PEDRO MENENDEZ

Win/loss record: 10-12 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Falcons’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: A very young Menendez team suited up for the Keystone Invitational at Fleming Island, and the team finish was somewhat predictable. But, the Falcons seemed to have grown from the experience, finishing mid-pack the following week at Westside Kiwanis. They entered the St Johns River Conference, contested just before Christmas, with a very short-handed group, winning just one of eight duals, and then struggled — as a group — at Episcopal’s Rob Bierbaum Invitational on January 6 and at Flagler Rotary in the final weekend of the month. In between, Menendez won a duals quad on January 9, went 4-4 at Terry Parker’s Army Duals, and then won the Ancient City title with wins over FSDB and St. Augustine, which the Falcons turned back three different times. Menendez’s best tournament was at districts, which is certainly the right time for that, as the Falcons took second, with a top-third finish at Region 1 (10th out of 29 teams), and had one state qualifier. That qualifier returns next year, as do seven other wrestlers with region-tournament experience for 2018-19. The middle weights will have to be filled, but the Falcons did have some depth in the lowers where kids that saw occasional time might have bigger roles in 2018-19.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Robert Iglesias (senior, 25-14 at 113, district runnerup, region 3rd, 0-2 at states); Justin Whitty (sophomore, 13-24 at 120, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Jarrett Ellis (junior, 10-22 at 126, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions); Connor Spossey (sophomore, 35-14 at 138, district champ, 1 match short of states); Sean Jones (sophomore, 19-17 at 152, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Dane Litzinger (sophomore, 12-19 at 182, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Austyn Holsomback (senior, 10-4 at 195, district champ, 1 match from states); Mike Solomon (junior, 1-8 at 285, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions).

Graduation losses from this year’s team (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience): DeAndre Jones (1-7 at 132, district runnerup, did not compete at regions); Collin Tanner (23-10 at 145, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); David Soule (19-23 at 160, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Alex Cathcart (18-24 at 170, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Nick Rose (4-16 at 220, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Wyatt Williams (11-13 at 285, did not compete in post-season).

2017-18 MVP: Early on this season, an observer of St Johns County wrestling pointed out Connor Spossey and told me to watch him, that he was going to be really good eventually. That may be true, but he turned out to be pretty dang good even in his freshman year. Spossey hit a couple of tough Camden roadblocks in his first Florida tournament, but went 6-0 with an eventual 1A state qualifier there as well. He would place at Westside Kiwanis (fourth) and Rob Bierbaum (second), going on a streak at one point where he would win 17 of 18 matches between St Johns River Conference and Army Duals, reaching the second day at Flagler Rotary as well, taking home one of two Falcon titles at 1A-District 4. Spossey did take two losses at regions and finished one match short of states, with the first loss against a fellow MVP (Florida High’s Max Metcalf), but the sky does appear to be the limit for him over the next three seasons.

2018-19 captain: Robert Iglesias has had more wins in prior seasons than he was able to enjoy this year, but this season might mean more, in that he was able to reach the state tournament as Menendez’s lone qualifier this past year. It was a tough start. Iglesias struggled to get well clear of the .500 mark, as he was 9-9 at one point through early in January. But from there, he had six straight pins and won 11 of 12 matches. Iglesias was the runnerup at districts, coming back with a third-place finish at regions, going 5-1 at that event, and had two solidly-competitive matches at states, where he lost twice by decision and a combined total of seven points, scoring well in both. Going into his senior year next year, Iglesias will certainly be among the team leaders for the Falcons.

Heaton’s Hero: Seniors are not usually cast for this one, but the story of Nick Rose bears some mention here. Rose struggled in what would have been his first year as a starter, with no wins until January, despite three different competitions prior to that first win on the 9th against FSDB, plus a forfeit against St Augustine that same night. Rose would only pick up two more wins the rest of the season, both coming late in February and both via forfeit. Rose had one match at districts, with a bye to take third place, and went 0-2 at regions. Only one match was reported as six minutes (I wonder if it was not a pin also), and the rest were all pins, most of them first-period versions. But Rose stayed out for the entirety of the season, and it would have been easy not to stay with it. For choosing the harder path, Nick Rose is the Heaton’s Hero for Pedro Menendez.

Please support our independent journalism by going here and donating to our website: https://www.gofundme.com/north-florida-matmen

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Wainwright ECAC Coach of the Year

While we’re waiting on the next The Season installment and results from Bolles, came across some good news involving Clay alum Cy Wainwright at the #NextLevel.

We’ll be out at Clay on Saturday for Greg Taylor Duals. Blowing off going to the beach for this. All I can say is, it better not rain later that afternoon. Results in the evening.

Here’s the link on Wainwright’s honor:

http://www.newberrywolves.com/news/2018/4/17/wrestling-wainwright-named-ecac-coach-of-the-year.aspx

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The Season 2017-18: Bartram Trail

Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (20xx-xx).” Your donation dollars at work, folks.

This year, we’re not following a rotation scheme. We’re keeping it a bit more random this go-round. Using a highly scientific line of inquiry, our next installment in the series is Bartram Trail.

Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past four seasons. At the request of a reader last season, we will note the accomplishments of each team’s senior class that will be moving on to new goals in May or June.

BARTRAM TRAIL

You can see everything I have on the Bears in 2017-18 here –>  BARTRAM TRAIL

Win/loss record: 25-9 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Timberwolves’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: The Bears were among the most complicated teams to track in 2017-18. Despite a deep football run, Bartram was a solid 3-2 at Matanzas Duals, and then swept to the title at the Orange Park 6-Way in the second weekend of December. Duals continued to be the watchword in that month, as the Bears were 2-2 at 2A-District 4’s inaugural duals tournament and finished fifth (6-2) at the Yulee Duals on the third weekend. At St Johns River Conference, Bartram was 5-3, placing fourth as a team. As January opened, the Bears got their first exposure to IBT competition, taking third at Episcopal’s Rob Bierbaum Invitational, sweeping to a dual quad victory at Orange Park two weeks later. IBTs then became a hit-or-miss experience. The hits included Flagler Rotary (top third of the field, 10th place finish), regions (T-6th in a 27-team field) and states (T-16th out of 84 teams), with the misses coming at Clay Rotary (bottom third) and districts (a more-disappointing than expected fourth). With 10 starters back, the cupboard isn’t entirely bare for the Bears, but only one starter above 145 will be back in 2018-19, so Bartram Trail will have to grow some bigs or find some new ones.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Cathan Simpson (sophomore, 22-23 at 106, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Trevor Tagarelli (sophomore, 14-26 at 113, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Nicholas Vugman (senior, 42-3 at 120, district champ, region champ, state 3rd); Jerry Gomer (senior, 18-17 at 126, 1 match from regions); Ryan Kolaitis (sophomore, 12-12 at 132, did not compete in post-season); Jaret Lee (sophomore, 2-7 at 132, 1 match from regions); Talia Megas (sophomore, 5-5 at 132/138, 1 match from girls’ state medal); Joseph Governara (senior, 7-9 at 138, 1 match from regions); Luis Parrales (senior, 31-8 at 145, district runnerup, region runnerup, did not compete at states due to injury); Ralph Hamilton (junior, 11-13 at 182, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions).

Graduation losses from this year’s team (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience): Christian Crews (26-17 at 152, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); Caleb Sutherland (25-11 at 160, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); Jacob Bennett (30-12 at 170, district 4th, 1-2 at regions); William King (26-7 at 170/182, did not compete in post-season); Brooks Harp (28-11 at 195, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Kolton McDaniel (34-7 at 220, district champ, region 3rd, 1 match short of state medal); Justin Thompson (34-12 at 285, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions).

2017-18 MVP: In his third season, Nicholas Vugman‘s work rate has never come into question, but sometimes the results — while still excellent — would not always measure up with that work rate. This was not the case in 2017-18, as Vugman won his first 28 matches, which included 23 wins at 126 after an early trial run at his eventual finishing weight of 120. That included unbeaten days at Matanzas, Orange Park, districts and Yulee. Vugman didn’t compete at Bierbaum, his only tournament miss, but came back to finish second at Flagler Rotary and again the following weekend at Clay Rotary. The tournament wins came at districts and regions, where Vugman had bonus points in both victories at the district level and three of four wins with bonus at the region one. His only loss at states came in the semis, and that was one of the wilder semifinal matches in Class 2A. Vugman went right back to work, taking two more Ws to finish third. In a season with a lot more ups and downs than the Bears might have wanted, Vugman was a model of consistency.

2018-19 captain: If Matmen ever did a category similar to that found at year-end team banquets, “Most Improved,” not only would Luis Parrales be the Bears’ most improved wrestler, he might be the most improved wrestler in the entire coverage area this season. After an early loss (to the eventual state champion at his weight), Parrales would go on to win 13 of his first 14 matches at 145, and then nine of the next 11. What impressed coaches was his natural strength, which helped lead to 16 pins, but he typically would also use that strength to grind down opponents, particularly down the homestretch of the season. His only losses in February came, again, to the eventual state champion, with whom Parrales went 6-2 in the Region 1 final. He didn’t compete at states due to an injury, but, like Vugman, Parrales will be a key component to Bartram’s season next year — and at probably a significantly higher weight class.

Heaton’s Hero: Trevor Tagarelli was one of two key freshmen that joined the Bears this year and saw varsity-level time at every competition. The wins were a little trickier to find, though, as Tagarelli started the year with a 5-16 record midway through the St Johns River tournament, with no events where he was above the .500 mark. But, Tagarelli was far closer in the second half of the Bears’ season, going 9-10 down the stretch. True, half of his wins this past season came via forfeit, but he did have six pins — including one at regions — and an additional win via wild major decision. I’ve got a soft spot for kids who make offseason work a priority after difficult decisions like that, and I’ve been advised that Tagarelli has been a regular in the room this off-season. That’s going to pay off. For his persistence in-season and out, Trevor Tagarelli is the Heaton’s Hero for Bartram Trail.

Please support our independent journalism by going here and donating to our website: https://www.gofundme.com/north-florida-matmen

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The Season 2017-18: Chiles

Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (20xx-xx).” Your donation dollars at work, folks.

This year, we’re not following a rotation scheme. We’re keeping it a bit more random this go-round. Using a highly scientific line of inquiry, our next installment in the series is Chiles, the first team from 2A-District 2.

Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past four seasons. At the request of a reader last season, we will note the accomplishments of each team’s senior class that will be moving on to new goals in May or June.

CHILES

You can see everything I have on the Timberwolves in 2017-18 here –>  CHILES

Win/loss record: 5-12 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Timberwolves’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: This year’s Timberwolf group was an exceptionally young group of wrestlers, and Chiles went through a significant amount of growing pains as a result this year. The Wolves’ first competition was at Capital City Classic, and the result was largely as expected. Chiles did win a pair of duals at its home dual tournament, going 2-3 at the Timberwolf Duals, but then was 0-2 at the inaugural 2A-District 2 duals tournament in early January. Most of the rest of the month was spent in tournament action, as Chiles competed in Lincoln’s Trojan Invitational and then finished near the middle of the pack at Wewahitchka’s Gator Brawl (11th out of 17 teams). The Timberwolves did take three dual wins, their final ones of the season, at the North Bay Haven Bash, where Chiles was 3-5 on the weekend. They were fourth at districts, and near the bottom of the group at regions, with no state qualifiers, but the future is bright. The Timberwolves will have 13 wrestlers with either post-season experience or 15-plus varsity matches under their belt this year, returning next year.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Cole Thomas (sophomore, 3-10 at 106, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Ethan Dhanarajan (junior, 2-4 at 106, district 4th, injured for regions); Alex Adkins (sophomore, 7-26 at 120, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Chase O’Brian (sophomore, 10-23 at 126, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Will Wiggins (sophomore, 11-26 at 132, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Michael Miralles (senior, 10-9 at 138, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Kevonte Times (junior, 13-15 at 145, district 3rd, did not compete at regions); Bryce Hudson (junior, 6-13 at 152, did not compete in post-season); Robert McGill (sophomore, 22-17 at 160, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Gage Bunton (senior, 8-21 at 170, 1 match from regions); Austin Wheeler (junior, 8-20 at 195, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Elijah Borden (sophomore, 7-16 at 220, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Sam Neely (senior, 16-13 at 285, district 3rd, 1-2 at regions).

Graduation losses from this year’s team (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience): Austin Nolan (35-8 at 152, district champ, 1 match from states).

2017-18 MVP: The one senior moving on, at least that had extensive varsity experience, was Austin Nolan, who was named as this year’s team captain a year ago on the 2016-17 The Season wrapup for Chiles. Nolan did get take three losses at Capital City, by a combined total of six points, but after the third loss, he went on to win 14 matches in a row, with a title at Timberwolf Duals and a 7-2 weekend at Gator Brawl. Following that tournament, Nolan won 10 more matches in a row, going undefeated (8-0) at North Bay Haven Bash and reaching the finals at Wakulla. Nolan would finish the year with 26 pins and a district title — pinning his way through the field there — but Nolan would take two losses against returning state qualifiers, coming up just short of the state tournament result.

2018-19 captain: Just one Timberwolves wrestler will return with a victory under his belt at the region level, and that will be Sam Neely, who was 1-2 at regions at 285. After a 2-4 start through two tournaments going into mid-January, Neely finally started full-time and started getting some wins under his belt, winning 10 of 13 matches between Gator Brawl and North Bay Haven Bash. Chiles’ schedule got tougher down the stretch, as Neely was 1-2 at Wakulla, with his final three losses of the season coming to state qualifiers at either districts or the region tournament, where he bowed out in Friday evening’s consi second round. With a full season next year, Neely could be a linchpin in Chiles’ return to past successes.

Heaton’s Hero: Freshman Alex Adkins was one of several ninth-graders who came into the program this past year and took a lot of lumps. He started the season in the lineup, with two losses at Capital City Classic, and didn’t pick up his first contested victory until Gator Brawl, in the third week of January. There would be one more at that event, one in the final dual at North Bay Haven Bash and one at Wakulla, but that would be it for wins for Adkins, who would drop each of his last six matches, all by bonus point. Nevertheless, Adkins was in every tournament for the Timberwolves, start to finish. That willingness to stick it out to the end is what makes Alex Adkins the Heaton’s Hero for Chiles.

Please support our independent journalism by going here and donating to our website: https://www.gofundme.com/north-florida-matmen

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#NextLevel18-19: Creekside’s Dickman Makes Five

Dickman

Creekside senior Brandon Dickman signs his national letter of intent on Tuesday, to attend Newberry College, coached by Clay alum Cy Wainwright, and wrestle for the Wolves in 2018-19. Dickman was a three-time placewinner for the Knights. He’ll participate in a schoolwide signing with other Creekside athletes this coming week (Photo submitted by Rick Marabell via Facebook).

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The Season 2017-18: Bolles

Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (20xx-xx).” Your donation dollars at work, folks.

This year, we’re not following a rotation scheme. We’re keeping it a bit more random this go-round. Using a highly scientific line of inquiry, our next installment in the series is Bolles.

Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past four seasons. At the request of a reader last season, we will note the accomplishments of each team’s senior class that will be moving on to new goals in May or June.

BOLLES

You can see everything I have on the Bulldogs in 2017-18 here –>  BOLLES

Win/loss record: 9-7 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Bulldogs’ performance in IBT events.

Season in a nutshell: The Bulldogs got two events rolling in December, with a 3-2 day at North Florida Duals and a mid-pack finish at Westside Kiwanis, an IBT hosted by Bishop Snyder, before wrapping up December. Bolles returned to the mats in early January, first to contest for the inaugural 1A-District 4 duals tournament and then splitting time that Saturday between the Midway 6-way dual tournament (where the Bulldogs were 3-2) and the Rob Bierbaum IBT at Episcopal. They picked up a mid-pack finish at Citrus’ Ed Kilpatrick IBT and were just outside the top 20 at both Flagler and Clay Rotaries, but won three of their final four duals, hanging within single digits in their only late-January loss. Bolles picked up a solid third at districts, and — defending their home mat a second time in the post-season — was seventh at 1A-Region 1, with a top-half finish at states. Just one senior will leave the Bulldog program, but it was their only state placer. Otherwise, 11 wrestlers with at least 15 matches could all return in 2018-19.

Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2018-19 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Jacob Witt (freshman, 6-5 at 106, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions); Dalton Posick (junior, 17-20 at 120, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Julian Morris (junior, 8-11 at 132, did not compete in post-season); Marquez Chavez (sophomore, 14-10 at 138, district 3rd, 2-2 at regions); KJ Fagan (senior, 31-11 at 145, district runnerup, region champ, 1 match short of state medal); JJ Rodriguez (senior, 7-19 at 152, district 4th, 0-2 at regions); Luke Selmont (junior, 4-13 at 160, district 4th, 2-2 at regions); CJ Grimes (senior, 21-12 at 170, district runnerup, 1 match from states); Ethan Asbury (sophomore, 9-15 at 182, district runnerup, 0-2 at regions); David Adewale (sophomore, 10-15 at 195, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Pearson Toomey (senior, 16-7 at 285, did not compete in post-season).

Graduation losses from this year’s team (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience): Mason Yost (30-9 at 220, district champ, region champ, state 6th).

2017-18 MVP: Senior Mason Yost already had his college signing situated, agreeing to play football for Liberty University, and it seemed like having that pressure removed also improved his wrestling this year, as he was far more aggressive on the mats from start to finish. Although he took two losses in his first week on the mats, in early January, Yost then had a streak of eight wins in a row, with that streak part of a run where he won 15 of 17 matches, a run that came to an end in the Clay Rotary finals following medal-winning efforts at both Ed Kilpatrick and Flagler Rotary. After the Clay loss, Yost wouldn’t lose again until states, taking district and regional titles over a long-time Bishop Kenny rival. In the state quarterfinals, Yost proved he more than belonged on the big stage, going 3-1 in overtime with the eventual finalist, winning twice on the back end to secure a medal, then having another match go 3-1 in the consi semis against one of south Florida’s top 220s in any weight class. It was a short two months for Yost, but he proved he was among that weight class’s elite kids.

2018-19 captain: Junior KJ Fagan was the other Bulldog region champion at home in February, but his path to that title was a bit less straightforward-looking than Yost’s. After an unbeaten start at North Florida Duals and a 5-0 day at Midway, Fagan showed he was close against some very solid statewide compedtition at Kilpatrick, and again at both Flagler and Clay Rotaries, where he was one match short of placing at both of those tournaments. But Fagan still had one major in-district hurdle to overcome, one he had not been successful in overcoming during the regular season — twice — and again unsuccessful in the District 4 final. But Fagan found the right formula at regions, winning his first region title. He had a very solid weekend at states, losing twice only to highly-regarded South Florida wrestlers and finishing just one match outisde the medals. He’ll be instrumental in the Bulldogs’ success in 2018-19.

Heaton’s Hero: One of the concerns that surrounds the Bulldog program has been the acquisition of matches due to the combination of football in December and exams in mid-January. While one can’t schedule around the exams so easily, the football wasn’t quite so deep a run as before. That allowed for an earlier presence than usual to get some kids mat time. One of the starters that saw time at the first event of the season, North Florida Duals, was Luke Selmont, at least on a part-time basis. Based on the records I have, Selmont had just one win in December and one in January. He doubled that at the region tournament, with a forfeit and an injury-default that got him into the second day. There wasn’t a lot of chances to get the hand raised, and every one of Selmont’s losses (again, that I have) were by fall. But he stayed out the whole season, and helped contribute to Bolles’ top-seven region finish. For that, Luke Selmont is the Heaton’s Hero for Bolles.

Please support our independent journalism by going here and donating to our website: https://www.gofundme.com/north-florida-matmen

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#NextLevel18-19: Columbia’s Curtis Makes Four

Curtis

Columbia senior Chace Curtis (third from left) prepares to sign his Division II national letter-of-intent Friday to attend Limestone College and wrestle for the Saints in the 2018-19 season. With Curtis, from left, are Monsta Wrestling (offseason) assistant coach Jason Langston, former Columbia assistant Allen Worley, Curtis, Columbia head coach Peter Whittington, and Curtis’ parents, Carolyn and Tony (Photo submitted by Peter Whittington via Facebook).

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